After 3 years of muddling through with a series of ineffectual stand ins we finally have themselves a new District Commissioner. He's young (25 I think), enthusiastic and will do a fantastic job, and good luck to him. While we have some very successful groups in the area we are simply not functioning as a district. Outside of cub level (which has muddled through on its own devices for some time) very little happens at district level so we certainly need him.
One of his first jobs was to offer me the position of Assistant District Commissioner (Development), ie to make the district events happen.
I was flattered. Honestly I was. It's not the first time I've been offered something either, previously I've been offered ADC (cubs), DESC and ESL (Young leaders). In the name of honesty I'll abandon modesty. They have been offered because I run a successful group. I have more kids than I know what to do with, I've had to stop letting kids on the waiting list because they'll never get to the top. I have recruited a brilliant team around me who have a wonderful mixture of youth and experience. I have also had a series of teenage explorer scouts help me who I have trained up to spread their wings and take on leader roles themselves.
So while I was flattered I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.
That doesn't mean I accepted it though, I turned it down.
If I felt I could have done the job then I would have taken it. As it is though I reckon I commit at least 10 hours a week, often more, to scouting, most of it on my cubs. In the same way as teachers don't finish work at 3, scout leaders work far more than 2 hours on a Monday night. Remember this is voluntary time, I have a job, a family and a life elsewhere. The only way I could do it would be to quit as CSL and take it on as my "full time" role. And if I had I reckon I could have made a good job of it. It's not what I would want to do though.
For me scouting is, always has been and always will be about what goes on on a Monday night. It's about doing something amazing with the kids, developing their confidence, self respect and self discipline. About teaching them life skills. I am proud that by the time a kid moves up to scouts from me they can cook properly and carry out first aid above and beyond what is expected of their age group. It's about those opportunities to be a kid and learn from their own mistakes in a world where too many kids are wrapped in cotton wool. It's those glorious summer days where they form bonds of friendship that will last a life time and those cold wet winter night hikes where they prove to themselves what they are capable of. It's all those things and more and they are things that I can't be part of or make happen from what would essentially be a desk job.
So I effectively turned down a promotion.
It's an important job and the right person will be out there somewhere for it, but that person is not me.